Injunction Denied to Stop Virginia Wind Project but Judge Affirms Standing of Plaintiffs

A federal judge has denied our request for a preliminary injunction to stop the Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind project. NLPC, Committee for a Constructive Tomorrow, and the Heartland Institute have sued the federal government and Dominion Energy under the Endangered Species Act. We argue that the project threatens the North Atlantic right whale, an endangered species.

Click here for Judge Loren L. AliKahn’s Memorandum Opinion and Order.

According to NLPC Counsel Paul Kamenar, who is serving as DC Counsel for the case:

We’re pleased that the judge found we have standing to bring the preliminary injunction motion contrary to Dominion’s concerted efforts to throw us out of court to prevent the court from even ruling on our case.


Of course, we are disappointed the court denied our motion. The judge did not indicate that she thought we were wrong about Dominion and the feds ignoring the law for failing to do a cumulative impact analysis of all the offshore wind projects. She ruled on the narrower issue of whether there is the prospect of irreparable harm to the endangered whales.


In doing so, she accepted Dominion’s argument that the right whales “are unlikely to be in the vicinity” and construction would be “halted” if a “Right Whale is spotted.”


But just the other day, NOAA issued a warning that boats are to travel at a low speed because right whales were spotted or are likely to be in the area. Dominion is ignoring this evidence and proceeding with its harmful activities.


We are considering filing an expedited appeal to the D.C. Circuit to have this decision reversed and to stop the project until Dominion and the government agencies do a proper cumulative impact analysis of the offshore wind project on the whales.

The project would be a mega-eyesore, consisting of 176 giant wind turbines – each taller than the Washington Monument, with turbine blades longer than a football field – to be constructed in the open ocean 29 miles off the coast of Virginia Beach. If completed, the project would be the largest of its kind in the world.

Scientists believe that less than 360 North American right whales remain. These giant mammals can be as long as 52 feet and weigh 77 tons. A calving female was recently found dead off the Virginia coast. The whale’s calf most certainly died without its mother. A total of 55 dead right whales have washed up on the beaches of the East Coast since 2017, causing the federal authorities to declare an “unusual mortality event.”

Watch NLPC’s video below, which further explains our lawsuit.




Tags: Coastal Virginia Offshore Wind, Dominion Energy, endangered species, renewable energy, whales, wind